What We Read – Are Older Titles Worth Exploring?

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Yes! Yes, they are!

Welp, glad we solved that, let’s pack it in folks, all done here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Just kidding. Obviously, I have a lot more to say about this topic.

As a book blogger we often have that FOMO feeling when it comes to books, especially if we’re active in the community and visit other blogs–a lot of us are talking about new titles coming out and what books are on the horizon and in turn it gets us hyped for those new books. We can get so caught up in new books that we just don’t have time to look at books that have been out for a while. Let’s face it–there’s not enough time in the world to read every book we want to read and some will always fall by the wayside even if we’re excited for them. Where’s that time turner when you need it?

time turner

One of my friends is fond of saying ‘books don’t have an expiration date’! Just because they’re ‘older’ (quotes because anything more than a decade in the past can feel positively ancient in the blogging realm sometimes) doesn’t mean they’re not still good reads! So, is it worth setting aside some time for reading older titles? In my opinion, absolutely, but I can see arguments being made for wanting to devote the bulk of your time to newer titles.

But let’s concentrate on why we might want to dive into the back list since that’s what this post is all about.

  • Checking out the ‘classics’. Classics of any genre tend to be older titles. If you want to check out some of the books that help shape the genre you’re going to want to check out some older books. Speaking of…
  • Exploring the history of the genre. I recently read the Vicki Nelson series by Tanya Huff for the first time and it was really interesting to see what she was doing to help shape the urban fantasy genre into what it is today. I think her books and her contribution to it is just as important as later authors in the genre. I always credited LKH with much because those early Anita Blake books were an influence on authors like Jim Butcher, but Huff’s books are a blueprint as any for the genre and they came out a couple of years before Guilty Pleasures.
  • You found an author you like and want to read more of their work. Martha Wells has skyrocketed to popularity with Murderbot being such a hit. But did you know she has other works out there? She has a lot of work! We should check it out! In fact, because Murderbot is so popular some of her older titles are being republished. Hopefully new readers will discover them.
  • Maybe it’s actually cool to read things that not everyone is talking about right now. I mean….just sayin. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Nah, you’re cool either way if you’re talking about books! But. I think it’s fun to buck the trend a bit.
  • There’s a lot of great books out there we’re totally missing! I’ve found so many great reads by checking out older titles, some of them have went on my favorites list. One example is Doris Egan’s Ivory series, which I’ve mentioned before a while back because I love it so much–such a fun science fantasy series. (Note to self: convince more people to read Ivory.)

Sure, reading older titles might not come with the ‘perks’ that reading new titles do such as ARCs and blog tours and author interviews. But I think it comes with its own rewards. I enjoy shining a light on books no matter if they’re old or new–if it’s a good book I want to talk about it and convince other people to read it. And sometimes things take off maybe you can help that author by getting them a few sales of an older title. Maybe it’s arrogant but I like to think that just talking about books I love is a help to authors in some small way.ย  Do you like reading older titles? Do you think only new books are worth checking out? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to chat!

40 thoughts on “What We Read – Are Older Titles Worth Exploring?

  1. Never Not Reading says:

    I definitely read a lot of “older” titles! I tend to prioritize books that have been on my tbr longer, which means I almost never read books the year they come out. Unless, of course, they’re a new release in a favorite series! I do differentiate between “new” (which for me is in the last 2 years or so) “backlist” (which is the last 10 years or so) and “older” (which is everything else).

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I used to do that too, more recently I seem to have become caught up in new releases but I’m trying to work my way back to my blacklist titles–there is so much great stuff out there worth exploring.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Understandable, there are so many book releases in SFF alone…
      I like old and new too, I need to concentrate on my older books for a while though at some point to get that TBR pile down a bit lol. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Tammy says:

    Great topic, Lisa! I don’t read nearly as many older books as I’d like. My problem is that I take on way too many review books and don’t have time for them. But that’s my fault, obviously. I have shelves of old books at home that I haven’t read, and it would be nice to carve out time to read them๐Ÿ˜

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Thanks, Tammy! It’s tough finding a balance. I think part of my scaling back on review books is also so I can get to some back list books but new titles are so very tempting!

  3. Bob says:

    It’s hard to find that balance between shiny new ARCs and dusty paperbacks on the shelves, but I always have at least one ‘old’ book on the go alongside my review titles. They’re all books I picked up for a reason, and I like that when the mood strikes me I can just snatch something off the shelf.

    Currently it’s The Fire’s Stone by Tanya Huff (her social bookquote post this week came from it, which was enough to flag it for a read) and In the Dark by Richard Laymon (I just wanted a quick popcorn horror read).

  4. mistysbookspace says:

    I very rarely read a book the same year it is released. Heck sometimes I donโ€™t read the book for several years after it is released. Thatโ€™s not to say that I donโ€™t read new/newer books because I do but I also read older books as well.

  5. Realms of My Mind says:

    I didn’t get into adult SFF until around 2015, so I’m CONSTANTLY playing catch-up with books that came out before then that everyone seems to have already read. I agree that it’s great seeing what came before and helped define the genre. I still remember the first time I read the original Dracula and was surprised 1) how wow it actually holds up and 2) just HOW MUCH really did come from this book.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Oh interesting, there is so much older stuff. I mean, as many new books coming out there are older ones worth exploring. Some of them hold up better than others though hah. I read Dracula back in high school so it’s been A WHILE–I should probably reread that soon!

  6. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    Yes one hundred percent to this!! I agree with this completely! Though I read mostly newer books from the last 10 years, I do try to get to a certain amount of books from before that too (actually wanting to read more from the backlist, I male a point of not reading too many arcs). Classics are so important! And I also think exploring the history of a genre can be so rewarding!
    Really loved this discussion ๐Ÿ˜€

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I’m really slowing down my review books so that I can get in more back list, I have so many in my TBR that are yelling at me to read them lol. I think Classics are important even though I haven’t read a lot of them myself! I know about them more than I’ve read them, lol. But there are still some I’m making an effort to read. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks!

  7. evelynreads1 says:

    I try to read more ‘older’ bookslately, especially in the fantasy genre! But as you said I get FOMO if I don’t resd the new shiny things!
    I need to find a good balance between the two, because both old and new books have such gems!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

  8. Susy's Cozy World says:

    This was such a good post!! And there are so many “old” books that are amazing and deserve to be read and known! It is also true that a lot of my favorite books are older. This is not to say that newer books are not so good, but come on! Robin Hobb’s books or Jacqueline Carey’s ones, for example, are amazing and are more than a decade old (there is something newer than that, too, but I think it is clear what I am trying to say) and I love them with a passion! And this is also the reason I post the meme “We Treasure You” on my blog, because the new books deserve to shine, but also the older ones!!
    Also, I have added Ivory to my TBR, thank you!!

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Oh yes, great examples. I love Carey’s original Kushiel books–sooooo good. And Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy as well. If you only read new books you’ll surely miss out on some really great reads. I think it’s important to have some balance. Glad you’re showcasing some older reads too. Hope that you enjoy Ivory if you get the chance to check it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Maryam (@thecurioussffreader) says:

    I love reading new releases and older titles but it’s true that now that I’m blogging, I’m reading way more new releases and even most of my backlist titles tend to be published in the last couple of years. I would like to read a lot more older books and focus more on classic SFF reads as well. I feel like it would be fascinating to learn more about the stories that inspired some of my favorite books. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Yeah, it’s just funny how blogging can shape our reading sometimes. I’m definitely trying to make more of an effort to get to some of my back list, I guess we’ll see how I’ve done by the end of the year. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you find some time for them too!

  10. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    It’s so true that we get constantly distracted by the deluge of new titles being published and that goes to the detriment of “older” books we are interested in but that keep being shunted down the reading queue because we are derailed by the new “shinies” parading under our eyes…
    I think I should make more of an effort to delve into my accumulated books and try to ignore for a while the new entries – but I wonder how much of this is wishful thinking… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • waytoofantasy says:

      It’s certainly tough not to get distracted by newer reads. I might sent an actual goal next year for back list reads (this year it’s sort of a loose goal but I don’t know how well I’m actually doing haha).

  11. dinipandareads says:

    I totally agree with you — it’s definitely worth it because I mean, as much as the latest books are being hyped right now I’m sure that these “older books” were hyped as well around the time they were released, right? I just find it really difficult a lot of the time to keep up with all the books (new and old) and it’s like there’s never enough time to read them all ๐Ÿคฃ I’m pretty sure that 80% of the books on my shelf now count as “older titles” with how long they’ve been sitting unread ๐Ÿคฃ I really need to make more of an effort to read the backlist! Haha great post, Lisa!

    • waytoofantasy says:

      There are so many new books coming out, even if we just concentrated on them it would be hard to keep up. I think it’s fun to look back though and check out some older books. I think there are some fantastic authors that probably get overlooked a lot nowdays and that’s a shame. I wish I had more time in the day to read even more books. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks!

  12. marydrover says:

    I LOVE reading older titles! Honestly, sometimes my older titles are only over a year or two old, but I still have a great heaping pile of backlist titles from authors that are currently publishing new books, and it’s just so fun to see how their writing has changed in only a few years.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Oh yeah, that’s a great point. I also like a lot of authors that have been out for years but are still publishing. One of my favorite is Carol Berg who recently adopted a new pen name (Cate Glass).

  13. @lynnsbooks says:

    It’s so strange because I was just thinking of this very thing!
    I sometimes think I’m very fickle – I think it was the comment on Obsidian Tower that put it in my mind – like I couldn’t wait to have a copy of the book and then once I had it all the excitement seemed to be drained Or worse still, the books I buy, I’m absolutely gagging to buy a copy and then I never read them (which is partly because I prioritise review books.
    But, you’re right, I have been back and read an author’s backlist before now – Neil Gaiman for example. And, classics are classics for a reasons *whispers* lotr.
    Lynn ๐Ÿ˜€

    • waytoofantasy says:

      “I couldnโ€™t wait to have a copy of the book and then once I had it all the excitement seemed to be drained” I relate SO MUCH, yes. I still haven’t read the new Murderbot novel! And I’m still excited for it I just…can’t be arsed to read it right now.
      But yeah, this is how I ended up with such a huge pile of unread books lol.
      I’m really enjoying reading back list stuff. Even though a lot of it is STILL not books I own because for some reason I keep digging into back list stuff on audio and ignoring my pile lol.

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